Tuesday, January 01, 2008

About New Year Resolutions

So I was listening to NPR as I mulled over my New Year resolutions this morning. I was about to jot down a couple, but then an interview with Beth Lisick, author of Helping Me Help Myself, "One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone" stopped me before I could put pen to paper.

Beth, the author, spent an entire year trying to be a better person. She studied under ten self-help gurus - including Richard Simmons, Franklin Covey and Deepak Chopra. After spending countless hours (not to mention dollars), she came away with a better understanding of herself, but she didn't sound as if she really became a better person. The book, however, sounds utterly entertaining, for people who, um, have time to read.

On the flip side, we spent New Years eve with four other couples (with toddlers) and one proudly announced they were not making any resolutions, which I admire. I admire it because I can't do it. Historically, I have made New Years resolutions in January - try to accomplish them by June - and then make new ones, so that I effectively accomplish two years of resolutions in one year. I know, I know; I need professional help.

So as I sit down to think about what is most important this year, I can't help but reflect on an article I read recently about the 50% League. It's about people who have donated at least 50% of their income or inheritance to charity. (Read: http://www.boston.com/business/globe/articles/2007/07/29/for_this_club_life_begins_at_50_/)

And although I would love to do that, the planner in me won't let go of the purse strings. I mean, we have to save for retirement, not to mention Chase's education, extra-currics, travel, an apartment in Veil (you get the picture). But I do want to figure out how to give more. If not money, then time and resources.

And on a different, and terribly sad note - that eventually ties back into New Years resolutions - I have actually been overwhelmed by sad, horrible news in the past week. Two different friends have gone to the doctor - and the doctor found "dark spots" - one friend has them near the brain, the other friend has them near the heart. A family member whose cancer was in remission has returned. And two people passed away. One on Christmas eve and the other just before Christmas.

And so on this New Years day, I am just grateful for what I have, for my family and our friends, for my daughter, for our health, for our well-being.

The only resolution that makes sense to me is to enjoy life and live every day to its fullest, to be grateful for what we have and to give to others whenever possible.

(more on the book? http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780061143960/Helping_Me_Help_Myself/index.aspx)

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